Do you have a Smart Phone? Are you using QR codes in your marketing campaigns? If not, it may be time to add this to your toolbox, and reach out to customers in a whole new way.
While they are still new a novelty here in the US, they’ve actually been used around the world for quite awhile now. Yet more often than not, when I do see people using them, they are making costly mistakes. Use these steps to guide you into using QR codes the right way.
Step 1: Create Your QR Code Strategy
Have you ever created a postcard on a whim, and sent it to a random list? Of course not. If you’re going to invest time and money in a postcard campaign, you’re going to strategize the best opportunities, hand select the mailing list to send to, and create a postcard that speaks directly to those people.
The same applies to your QR code plan. You need to understand your target audience, and direct them to an offer made exclusively for them.
Start by understanding your target audience. Do they know what a QR code is? Do you need to explain how to use it, or direct them to a code reader? Where will they be scanning the code and what do you want them to do from there?
Next, decide how and why you are using a QR code. Are you putting it on your existing marketing materials? QR codes are easy to use, create and print. You can put them on your business cards, place them on your storefront window, or include it on your blog or Facebook account. Where they find your QR code depends on how they will use it.
A QR code on your storefront window may be a great way to target walk-by traffic, give them a coupon to try you out, or even provide initial information on your services. If they are already sitting at a computer and find it on your Facebook account, its easier to send them to pages where they can watch videos, or even get a free ebook to provide more information.
Without directing people to a specific place with a specific task in mind, there isn’t much difference providing a URL. What makes QR technology so effective is you can provide the best information possible right when your customers need it the most.
Step 2: Create Your Codes
There are numerous ways of creating QR codes, both for free and pay. You can create free QR codes quickly with Google’s URL shortener. Simply type in the URL you want the QR code directed to, and hit shorten. It will appear in the list below. When you click on the details, you can open up and review stats for that URL, and it will also provide you with a QR code you can use on just about anything. Keep in mind it’s a small code, so you won’t be able to blow it up to large format – but its great for using on your sites, Facebook, etc.
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You can also use the Microsoft Tag system. Tags are completely customizable, so you can move beyond the “black square” technology, and incorporate colors, graphics and even text into your tag, making it more personable and brandable.
While both of these systems are free, there are many other companies that offer QR or Tag technology that allows you to enhance the user experience. Do a quick search and you’ll find a wealth of information on this new and growing technology.
Step 3: Test Your Marketing
Now that you have a QR code printed and ready to go, does it work?
It’s easy to assume it does, and send out 1,000 postcards. Then when your response rate is zero, you’ll start questioning why.
Take the time to test at every stage of development. Does it take you to the correct site?
Also ask yourself if it takes you to a site that is mobile ready. Again, if you work from your computer and develop your campaign without trying it from a smart phone, you may miss that the URL you’ve chosen is Flash based – which many smart phones can’t read.
Yes, I know Androids can read Flash – but do you really want to chance alienating hundreds of potential customers because they prefer their iPhones, and your marketing opens to a blank or non-readable page?
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Step 4: Track Your Scans
There are plenty of free tools that will allow you to watch your statistics, and help you determine if your campaign is successful.
If you’re using Google’s URL shortener, they have statistics already in place. Simply head back to the shortener page, and your shortened URL will be there. Head back into the details, and you can see how many people have visited your page.
You can also use other tracker programs. Bitly is another URL shortener program that allows you to track your hits to specific pages. When you have your URL developed, simply drop it into Bitly first, and then provide that URL to create your QR code. This will give you an easy, free way to track your hits, and even determine where your hits are coming from.
Step 5: Give Your Viewer Value
Even though QR codes are new technology, and people simply love trying it out, they still don’t want to feel like they’ve wasted their time.
QR codes have very specific value – use it to enhance your user experience, not add more business to an already cluttered market. If they know who you are, they know how to get to your home page – they don’t need a QR code for that.
But if you send them to a unique page with a short video that gives them something they wouldn’t ordinarily see, that’s value.